Monday Motivation 23rd March 2020

Two things that have got me through life are books and music. They’ve always been constant companions and continue to do so even as we live in these unprecedented times.

What always continues to amaze me, particularly when reading books that were written over 30 or 40 years ago (sometimes even older), is how forward thinking some writers were.

I’m currently reading the third book of James Herbert’s The Rats Trilogy Domain. A great writer will always know and write people well; and they can sometimes even provide little glimpses into the future. Although the story is set in the aftermath of a nuclear attack, this book is still relevant to our current climate. Here’s a quote from the book (first published in 1984) that made me chuckle:

Wherever you are in the world today please keep safe. Look after yourselves and each other. And read a good book.

Monday Motivation 16th March 2020

For these Monday Motivation posts I’ve chosen quotes that have helped me move forward and have had an impact on the way I think.

But there’s nothing more motivating than sunshine and clear blue sky to get me out and about and doing something I love. So I’m starting the week as I intend to go on – with a cup of coffee and getting creative.

How about you?

Monday Motivation 9th March 2020

So the first in a series of Monday motivations. My goal for today and each day this week (Monday to Friday) is to get up at 5am. The rest will follow on from there. Biggest anticipated challenge of the day: fighting the fatigue. How am I going to tackle this? Going to the gym. Making healthy eating choices. Creating and following a to-do list, making sure I include things I want to do as well as the things I need to do. And for those jobs I don’t get done today – I’m gonna roll them over to tomorrow.

Want to share you self-motivation experiences.? Why not join the conversation and drop a comment below?

Happy Monday everyone.

Mark Young

Website Re-Vamp

Hello there!

It’s been a while since I’ve published anything on my blog so thank you to all those who have subscribed in the last few months. It’s great to have you on board. Your patience is much appreciated.

I’ve been busy editing the second volume in the 13 Dark Fantasy & Horror Stories series. And I’m thrilled to announce it’s almost finished. I’m in the process of rewriting the final story. I can’t wait to share them all with you.

As you will see markyoungofficial.com has had bit of a facelift. I’ve been busy working on it this week. I’m really excited about the new design and layout.

Stay tuned. There’s more content coming in the next few months. And please feel free to share these pages with people you think may enjoy them.

Best wishes

Mark

The Heartbreaker available on Amazon now!

Halloween may have come and gone, but our love for all things horror continues all year around. To celebrate with you, my first collection “The Heartbreaker” is available for Kindle, Kindle Unlimited and in Paperback formats.

UK: https://amzn.to/2BWQN4Z

US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07LDS6LP4/ref=cm_sw_em_r_mt_dp_U_y0PUDbY354S85

If you have downloaded or read the book already, why not share your review on Amazon and Goodreads with other horror fans. It would be great to hear what you think.

I’ll soon be recording more audio stories for my youtube channel, so if you like to listen to your horror you can subscribe and check out the short story The Cat’s Hand via: https://youtu.be/GFfFnIxA81s

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Film Review – Arrow Video’s Climax

Gaspar Noé’s Climax is a mesmerising, mind-bending spectacle that is not just a feast for the eyes and ears – but an emotional and psychological journey that will take you on a path one-less travelled in the realms of horror. It’s closest relation – at a guess – would be Suspiria. But as I haven’t seen the latter I can only comment from my own experience.

If you are a horror fan and are looking for something different, a unique take on horror – then I highly recommend Climax. You won’t be disappointed.

I had seen the Blu Ray release in the Arrow Video range in my local store. It had caught my eye an number of times while browsing, drawing my attention to the distributor’s modern releases alongside the remastered classics.

After (what felt like hours of) browsing the same old Netflix selections on Saturday night and switching off a few with disappointing starts, I instantly clicked on Climax in desperate hope of finding a good film to watch. I don’t regret my choice in the slightest. It’s Monday morning and I’m sitting in a coffee shop still thinking about how great this film is.

I occasionally dip into and thoroughly enjoy foreign language films but have rarely experimented with art-house films. Climax has very little to offer in the way of story and it doesn’t need to. The premise is: a bunch of dancers are hired to work with a renound choreographer Selva (played by The Mummy’s Sofia Boutella) and after a successful rehearsal they have a party to celebrate. The punch is spiked and the trip works its dark magic. Chaos ensues. This simple idea is the thread that holds it together beginning to end.

The film opens with an aerial shot of a woman running through snow. She falls, leaving blood-stained tracks. The film then cuts to a TV screen where we’re invited to watch a series of interviews that introduce the dancers about to embark on this creative life-affirming journey. Very reminiscent of the interviews in Michael Jackson’s This Is It and Madonna’s In Bed with Madonna (or Truth or Dare as it was titled in the US). Piled either side of the TV set were a number of French horror titles – for the aficionadas among us.

When the end titles followed so early on in the film, I knew I was in for something unconventional. Excited by not knowing what to expect next.

And boy was I pleasantly surprised. What came next was one of the most captivating pieces of dance/film-making I’ve ever seen.

This hypnotic scene was thrilling to watch. I’m no dance expert but, there were definitely elements of vogue-ing infused with street and contemporary choreography. And like the opening interviews you are invited to get to know a little more about the characters through the dance. It’s one of the best things I’ve seen on the small screen. I could only imagine the impact of watching on the big screen.

Moving on, the dancers separate into their cliques and we are treated to observe their conversations – which centre around love, sex and relationships. They dip into the punch some more and another dance sequence follows. This time we’re treated to watching the sequence from the ceiling – another aerial shot. Again, this is visual delight to see how bodies look and move from above. All the while the spiked punch starts to take effect. At this point I felt like I should’ve switched off by now but, something compelled to keep watching. I just couldn’t keep my eyes of the screen.

Opening credits flash in the middle of the film – signalling Act 1 was over and all hell was about to break lose. And it did.

The camera weaves in and out of the building, observing the unfolding stories. At no point did any of it feel rehearsed or planned and, at times, it feels like it’s all been filmed in one take. Passing from scene-to-scene, story-to-story – everything had a natural flow to it. And as the chaos mounted toward its climatic finale we were treated to watch from an entirely different angle. Because of the drug – the dancers’ world is literally turned upside down.

I highly recommend this film. If someone had told me the synopsis of this movie I probably would’ve said: “no, I don’t think so – sounds pretentious.” But it’s not. Its a horrifying movie that taps into the characters’ insecurities, twists them round with a dose of LSD-infused punch to bring out rage and paranoia and have those secret, lies and deceptions work against them.

And to top it all off – who did spike the punch? Only one way to find out.

Want something different? Watch this.

Mind blowing. 5 out of 5.

Climax is available from Amazon on Blu Ray and DVD.

Check out the trailer here.

Audio Short Story: The Cat’s Hand

The Cat’s Hand – Audio Story

For those who like to listen to horror stories, The Cat’s Hand is now available on Youtube. Click here to hear the story narrated by the author. If you like it – why not subscribe to the channel. More short audio stories to come.

Story by Mark Young. Illustration by Grant Springford.

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If you enjoyed the Cat’s Hand, why not check out Mark Young’s The Heartbreaker: 13 Dark Fantasy & Horror Stories on Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com.

Something for the weekend? Could this be your next good read?

The Heartbreaker FRONT FINAL 2018 QUARTER SIZE

Are you ready?

Spring is in the air and with the warm weather approaching there’s nothing like heading out to the garden or a park and enjoying a refreshing drink. A picnic perhaps. And to accompany all that – losing yourself in a good book.

You may even be on your holidays. Travelling on a plane. On a sun lounger by the pool or on the beach with the sound of the waves crashing on the foreshore.

Or maybe you’re tucked up in bed ready to get stuck into a damn good horror?

Thank you readers!

Last weekend, I was thrilled to find out The Heartbreaker: 13 Dark Fantasy & Horror Stories reached #37 in the Top 100 free kindle charts on the Amazon bestsellers: Low Fantasy & Dark Fantasy Horror charts. Not bad for my first book and first attempt at marketing. So thank you to all of those who have downloaded or purchased a copy so far. I’m so excited for you to read it and to hear what you think.

It’s now Friday and a new weekend is upon us and the perfect time to tuck into one of the books, if you’re like me, that are piling up and crying out to be read. Oh, the screams coming from those pages – it’s enough to keep a man awake at night!

“A little more knowledge might light our way.” Yoda, Star Wars, Episode III

So I wanted to take this opportunity to talk a little more about the stories in this anthology, to give you a little more flavour of what to expect.

First of all, you won’t be reading the same story twice; or a whole bunch of stories that are similar in theme, content, character and kills. Secondly, “no two points of view feel the same.”

To quote one Amazon reviewer: “I also liked the fact that there’s a range of different protagonists in this anthology – male, female, gay, straight, old, young. Because of this no two viewpoints feel the same.” The Reader.

I really worked hard to make sure there was something here for everyone and to give each reader some variety. It was important to me to create characters that readers could relate to, feel for. And in case of the villains – revile in their delectable devilry. I also wanted to create a cast within each story where the characters also brought out the best and the worst in each other. Protagonists, antagonists and supporting characters all have backstories (in the appropriate measures of course) which I hope readers will enjoy.

When I read anthologies, I connect with some stories more than others so I’m really excited to hear which stories people liked and which characters they felt most connected to.

The stories of The Heartbreaker: 13 Dark Fantasy & Horror Stories

To wet your appetite, give you more of a taster, I thought it was a good idea to give you a run down of each story – a mini blurb if you like. (I’ve omitted The Heartbreaker from the list but you can find details here). So here we go…

  • BLACK MIST. Under the watchful eye of her sinister step-father, Ray, teenager Rosie takes time out from her studies when she is leant a mysterious book by the equally mysterious proprietor of Liandri’s Second-Hand Book Store & Other Antiquities. As the threat increases on Rosie’s life, our heroine decides enough is enough and turns to the pages of this curiously gothic-looking book for help.
  • CURSE OF THE DREAMWEAVER. Jackson Moon is a young football star who has it all. Career. Fame. Fortune. And a loving family. He’s about to lose it all. All in a single moment. One bad choice. And for every choice that’s made – there’s always a price to pay.
  • THE ARTIST. Actress Josephine Winthrop is invited to dinner by the elusive benefactor of her play. The Count, as he is known, seduces Jospehine into a world of love, passion, art and opportunity. But The Count is not all he makes out to be and things take a sinister turn when Josephine begins to feel she’s not quite all there.
  • LET’S NOT TALK ABOUT KEVIN. Locked up in the basement, Kevin wonders why his parents don’t love him anymore. With no friends or family to talk to, and only a radio for company, things take a sudden turn for the better. Or at least that’s what he hopes for when unexpected visitors arrive.
  • HEAVENLY WATERS. Kicking back in his boat on a secluded lake is how Tony enjoys his spare time. Cracking open a can of beer, he hopes to catch a large pike rumoured to be hiding in these calm, but murky waters. But he gets more than he bargained for when something much larger and more beautiful snags his interest. A seductive mermaid leads him into a hidden paradise where pleasures beyond his imagination await his arrival.
  • THE GOOD BOY. Plagued by the loss of his missing son, and haunted by dreams of his own childhood, Jacob Stone receives a call to visit his ex-wife who claims she has seen the ghost of their son, Toby. Pulling the clues together, Jacob goes in search of the boy to discover what happened to him. And to find out if he’s dead or alive.
  • LIVING WITH YOUR PARENTS CAN BE MURDER. What could possibly go wrong when you’re in your forties and still living with your parents? A mother who’s an incessant nag. A father who doesn’t say boo to a goose. And a green demon who constantly plays devil’s advocate. In this comedy horror, Sandy Bulwinkle is about to find out what can go wrong when his living situation comes crashing down and he can’t take the pressure any more.
  • THE VANISHED. Be careful what you wish for is how the saying goes. But what if you wish for something buried deep in your subconscious? Something you didn’t even realise was there? Bullied. Lonely. Confused. Growing up is hard for Matthew. And his life is about to get even more horrifying when his dreams and his nightmares come true – finding himself in a post-apocolyptic world all of his own making.
  • THE UNFORGIVING. Struggling to cope with single-parent life, Mike Saunders does his best to connect with his five-year-old son, Aiden. And as Aiden’s behaviour becomes even more strange and erratic, the father of one finds himself revisiting the past in the hope of making a better future for both him and his son.
  • GONE. Forty. Single. And still trolling the bars seaching for the one, Ethan has outlived the life he once knew. Now in the middle of a hot summer, a single bite from a mosquito is about to change all of that. Faced with a sudden illness that feels like death, he wakes to find an unexpected companion lying in his bed.
  • THE DIARY OF ETHEL EDIE BROWNE. On the outside Penny Arbuckle appears to be prim and proper – a gentrified young woman living in modern times. But independent and confident, Penny’s fearlessness is put to the test when an old diary from the 1920s mysteriously appears on the bedroom floor. Can reading the thoughts of a housewife who lived a hundred years ago bring the past to life? After all, they’re only words on a page. Aren’t they?
  • PROTÉGÉ. It’s a blazing hot day and Ben Chambers is stuck in traffic on the motorway, late for an interview. On his arrival his host, a man called Vanguard, challenges him to a game of chess. But who is interviewing who? What is Vanguard’s secret? And why was Ben really invited to a secluded lodge in the middle of the woods?

There you have it, folks. I’ve tried not to give too much away.

Super villains. Vampires. Mermaids. Monsters. Ghosts. Evil Step Fathers. Zombies. Demons. Serial killers. Clones and cannibals.

Blood. Bones. Fangs. Gore. Spooks. Thrills and spills. Psychological scares. Horror and terror.

This anthology has them all. And more.

Don’t forget to check out The Heartbreaker page for more details on the book’s title story. Would be great to hear what you think.

Happy reading and enjoy your weekend.

The Heartbreaker FRONT FINAL 2018 QUARTER SIZEMark Young’s The Heartbreaker: 13 Dark Fantasy & Horror Stories is now available worldwide from Amazon for Kindle, Kindle Unlimited and in Paperback.

Text by Mark Young.

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© 2019 Mark Young. All rights reserved.